The Mastercard Foundation Scholarships are designed for students who demonstrate academic excellence and strong leadership potential, but who face difficulties or do not have the funds to access higher education. They are particularly aimed at students who aspire to make a real and lasting impact in tackling some of the foremost issues facing the continent, particularly in the fields of public policy and major political, environmental, and societal transitions.

The Mastercard Foundation Scholarships has three major strategic objectives: providing specialized support for students, developing their soft skills outside of the student experience, and, lastly, building a strong alumni network.

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Since 2017, Sciences Po has been part of the four European universities (with the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, and Edinburgh) in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation Scholarships. Since then, the partnership has enabled 138 students from Sub-Saharan Africa to enroll in a degree program in the social sciences at Sciences Po, with the aim of training a new generation of change-makers in their home countries.

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Mastercard Foundation Scholarships

  • Scholarships cover the full cost of tuition and living expenses in France throughout the period of study at Sciences Po.

In addition to funding scholars’ studies, Sciences Po provides a range of specialized resources to support them during the process, and to facilitate their transition into the working world. In particular, scholarship students have access to:

    • Support in the run-up to their departure, specialist support on arrival, and an official welcome program.
    • Housing in Paris is reserved for scholarship holders.
    • Personalized support throughout their studies, ensuring that every student has the best possible experience at Sciences Po.
    • Careers support guidance to help students identify their professional aspirations; a career fair focusing on employment and internship opportunities in Africa; access to the university’s business incubator (FR) and its network of employers and alumni working in Africa; careers support workshops; participation in conferences, etc.
    • A mentoring program co-run with the Africa Division of Sciences Po Alumni.
    • Access to the wide range of general resources that Sciences Po provides to guide students through every step of their studies.


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To be eligible for the Mastercard Foundation scholarship, applicants must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Be a citizen of a country in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Show a willingness to commit to bringing about change in Africa and making a genuine impact on the region in the areas of public policy and major political, environmental, and societal transitions.
  • Have a demonstrable need for higher education funding (note that proof of your financial circumstances will be required as part of your application).
  • Provide a recommendation from your university.
  • Have obtained a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree (or international equivalent) by the following academic year.
  • Be applying for a two-year Master’s program at one of Sciences Po’s seven Graduate Schools. Applicants to one-year Master’s programs, dual degree programs, or joint Master’s programs are not eligible for the scholarship.
  • Have attained a minimum of C1 level in French or English, depending on the program you are applying for (see the language requirements for each program). Note that programs are either taught entirely in French, entirely in English, or in both languages.
  • Not have obtained or be working towards a prior Master’s degree.
  • Be under 35 at the start of the graduate academic year.

Application Process

You must first check that you are eligible for the scholarship by providing the required information on the scholarship website. Once your application has been submitted and examined by the Science Po staff, you will be informed of whether or not you are eligible for the scholarship.

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If you are declared eligible for the Mastercard Foundation Scholarship, you will not have to pay the processing fee for your application to Sciences Po.

On the scholarship site, you will need to provide:

  • Personal details
  • A letter of recommendation from the academic advisor at your university to support your application. For this, you will need to ask the person to complete and sign this form.
  • Full information and evidence regarding your financial circumstances.
  • Information regarding your academic record and extra-curricular attainments.
  • A statement detailing your varied experiences of and views on issues specifically affecting Africa, and explaining how you plan to achieve change on the continent. The quality of this statement will be a deciding factor for the panel in charge of allocating the scholarships.

You must have completed this step by November 26, 2023, in order to receive your approval of eligibility for the scholarship and to waive the processing fee for your application to Sciences Po (the deadline for which is December 3, 2023).

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Deadline: November 26, 2023

Click HERE to Apply